Microsoft Paint, which was at one point killed off before being brought back from the grave, is getting even more powerful with the addition of Photoshop-like layers and transparency.
Coming to Windows Insiders — a program that lets anyone sign up to preview upcoming features — the update will give users the ability to add, remove, and manage layers on a canvas to allow for the creation of more complex digital art.
“With layers, you can stack shapes, text, and other image elements on top of each other. To get started, click on the new Layers button in the toolbar, which will open a panel on the side of the canvas. This is where you can add new layers to the canvas. Try changing the order of layers in this panel to see how the order of stacked image elements on the canvas changes. You can also show or hide and duplicate individual layers or merge layers together,” Microsoft explains.
Layers are arguably the most powerful, central feature of Photoshop and why it is such a versatile tool for graphics artists and photographers alike. It’s addition to Paint will dramatically impact how artists can interact with the program and instantly make it substantially more usable.
Microsoft isn’t stopping there, however. In addition to layers, the company is adding support for transparency which includes the ability to open and save transparent PNGs.
“When working with a single layer, you will notice a checkerboard pattern on the canvas indicating the portions of the image that are transparent,” Microsoft explains, describing a look that all graphic artists that have used Photoshop for at least the last decade are intimately familiar with.
“Erasing any content from the canvas now truly erases the content instead of painting the area white. When working with multiple layers, if you erase content on one layer, you will reveal the content in layers underneath.”
The addition of layers and transparency joins background removal, which was added into the Windows Insider version of Paint earlier this month. Combined, these might be the most meaningful updates Microsoft has ever given the free graphic design platform.
Image credits: Microsoft